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Investigating the Digital Divide for the HE Distance Learners in Prison Anne Pike Alt-C Conference 9-11 th  September 2008
Aims of the Research <ul><li>To investigate the experiences of the Open University student in a prison environment   </li>...
Methodology <ul><li>Interviews/Questionnaires </li></ul><ul><ul><li>35 prison students (33 male, 2 female) </li></ul></ul>...
Educational Qualifications before entering prison
Decision to study with the OU <ul><li>Completed all other education – next step </li></ul><ul><li>Through a friend already...
<ul><li>“ P kept following me, insisting on more and more exams. I told him I couldn’t do it. He said I had the potential....
Support <ul><li>Dedicated staff both internal and external to the OU </li></ul><ul><li>Insufficient resources, funding or ...
Benefits of HE for Offenders <ul><li>Confidence – can study, stay the course, succeed </li></ul><ul><li>(student comments)...
<ul><li>A new direction </li></ul><ul><li>“ I started the Open to Change course  </li></ul><ul><li>because I wanted to see...
<ul><li>Gaining Employment </li></ul><ul><li>Northern Ireland - MLA </li></ul><ul><li>Guardian Columnist </li></ul><ul><li...
ICTs in prison: the challenge
Digital Divide for Offender Learners <ul><li>Access to IT – attitude, control  </li></ul><ul><li>“ there’s no point in reh...
Back
Bridging the Digital Divide <ul><li>University for Industry(UfI): Learndirect  </li></ul><ul><li>Programme of Offender Lea...
Main areas of concern <ul><li>Prison: Poor media and public perception. Main purpose of prison to protect the public. Need...
Prison <ul><li>Much media coverage and academic writing invite us to view the ‘inadequate person’ not the ‘positive qualit...
Pedagogy <ul><li>Offender Education extremely demanding </li></ul><ul><li>Dearth of practical information  </li></ul><ul><...
Technology <ul><li>In 9 countries, 90% of prison HE students found computers and internet access inadequate or very inadeq...
Anne Pike COLMSCT CETL Fellow &  Offender Learning Coordinator The Open University [email_address]
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  • Transcript of "Alt c 11-09-08-a pike-nonotes"

    1. 1. Investigating the Digital Divide for the HE Distance Learners in Prison Anne Pike Alt-C Conference 9-11 th September 2008
    2. 2. Aims of the Research <ul><li>To investigate the experiences of the Open University student in a prison environment </li></ul><ul><li>To determine what influences students to embark on an Open University course </li></ul><ul><li>To understand how technology, is affecting their learning, choice of study and future decisions </li></ul>
    3. 3. Methodology <ul><li>Interviews/Questionnaires </li></ul><ul><ul><li>35 prison students (33 male, 2 female) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>56 staff (OU, prison, stakeholders) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prisons </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cat A – D, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Male & female </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>public, private </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ongoing </li></ul>
    4. 4. Educational Qualifications before entering prison
    5. 5. Decision to study with the OU <ul><li>Completed all other education – next step </li></ul><ul><li>Through a friend already studying </li></ul><ul><li>Always wanted to study with the Open University </li></ul><ul><li>Use time usefully </li></ul><ul><li>Influence from an important person </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>“ P kept following me, insisting on more and more exams. I told him I couldn’t do it. He said I had the potential. …P was like a father to me - I still remember him.” </li></ul><ul><li>[10, 28] </li></ul>“ I have no-one outside to write to but I would like M and P to come if possible.” [10, 28]
    7. 7. Support <ul><li>Dedicated staff both internal and external to the OU </li></ul><ul><li>Insufficient resources, funding or policy to adequately meet the needs of the OU students </li></ul>“… They [the tutors] fired my imagination… the astronomy tutor was brilliant – looked like a biker with pictures of telescopes, stars. He made the subject come alive” [5, 4].
    8. 8. Benefits of HE for Offenders <ul><li>Confidence – can study, stay the course, succeed </li></ul><ul><li>(student comments) </li></ul><ul><li>“ If I’d been on the outside I’d never have done this </li></ul><ul><li>… I want to do a degree now ….and use my time usefully.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I built up confidence and pushed forward then I just took off ” </li></ul><ul><li>Empowerment – being a student, new knowledge, options </li></ul><ul><li>“ W hen you have a laptop it’s wonderful … It makes </li></ul><ul><li>you feel like you’re really a student ” (Female student (closed)) </li></ul><ul><li>“ For the first time in my life I know what I want to do” </li></ul><ul><li>(Social Science Student) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Education gives you the option to stop re-offending” </li></ul><ul><li>(Male Student – close to release) </li></ul>
    9. 9. <ul><li>A new direction </li></ul><ul><li>“ I started the Open to Change course </li></ul><ul><li>because I wanted to see where life </li></ul><ul><li>had gone wrong” </li></ul>Benefits of HE for Offenders A mission “ It’s like the university of life here, you meet just the biggest cross section of people from every sort of background. I want them to have education too… I’m doing [a] Mental Health [course] now..I want to teach people with autism”
    10. 10. <ul><li>Gaining Employment </li></ul><ul><li>Northern Ireland - MLA </li></ul><ul><li>Guardian Columnist </li></ul><ul><li>Lecturers – PGCEs and Higher degrees after release </li></ul><ul><li>Own business </li></ul><ul><li>Senior roles with Charities working with </li></ul><ul><li>Offender and Ex-Offender </li></ul><ul><li>But…. </li></ul>Benefits of HE for Offenders “ We must educate them to the right level… for employment they need to be better than the average” (HoLS)
    11. 11. ICTs in prison: the challenge
    12. 12. Digital Divide for Offender Learners <ul><li>Access to IT – attitude, control </li></ul><ul><li>“ there’s no point in rehabilitating if you don’t know modern technology” (student) </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Access - safety, public perception </li></ul><ul><li>“ [without internet access] even relatively ‘media-rich’ institutions still feel profoundly isolated from the wider society ” Jewkes (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Course Choice </li></ul><ul><li>“ I can’t get the degree that I wanted … all the courses are needing internet access now” </li></ul><ul><li>Access to the OU site </li></ul><ul><li>“ I have access to my own material but not the </li></ul><ul><li>OU library. … I have access to all the University Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>in the world except the OU.” </li></ul>
    13. 13. Back
    14. 14. Bridging the Digital Divide <ul><li>University for Industry(UfI): Learndirect </li></ul><ul><li>Programme of Offender Learning and Resettlement Information Services ( POLARIS) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>– 8 prisons in London, many now live. Openlearn provided. Conflict with Virtual Campus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Virtual Campus Trials </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2 test beds (West Midlands, Eastern). LSC run. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intranets – Whitemoor WW </li></ul>
    15. 15. Main areas of concern <ul><li>Prison: Poor media and public perception. Main purpose of prison to protect the public. Need to raise awareness of the benefits of HE </li></ul><ul><li>Pedagogy: Unique prison culture and environment – need an adapted pedagogy which effectively identifies this – informal and formal learning links, role of prison officer, staff training </li></ul><ul><li>Technology: Appropriate use of modern technologies and the internet. Safe platforms exist but connectivity slow. Flexibility in program design, campus models the way forward. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Prison <ul><li>Much media coverage and academic writing invite us to view the ‘inadequate person’ not the ‘positive qualities and potential’ </li></ul><ul><li>Education occupies contested space within the prison regime </li></ul><ul><li>How do we nurture a society which believes that prisoners can change? </li></ul><ul><li>Provide role models of prisoners ‘made good’ </li></ul><ul><li>Quantitative research required exploring links between HE and reduced recidivism </li></ul><ul><li>3-5% of European prisoners could undertake HE </li></ul><ul><li>(Callejo & Viedma, 2007). </li></ul><ul><li>Targets of just 2%, where possible, may provide </li></ul><ul><li>prison managers with a more compelling reason to </li></ul><ul><li>adopt HE (study group) </li></ul>Prisons can be described as ‘human dustbins’ (Parkinson, 1997)
    17. 17. Pedagogy <ul><li>Offender Education extremely demanding </li></ul><ul><li>Dearth of practical information </li></ul><ul><li>Initial induction and training for new educators </li></ul><ul><li>Day-to-day running of prison dependent on the good will of prison officers </li></ul><ul><li>Students’ view prison officers as ‘indifferent’ or ‘obstructive’ (Pike, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Prison officers have untapped interest in learning and </li></ul><ul><li>resent offender learning opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>(Irwin & Wilson, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Provide prison officers with easier access to HE </li></ul><ul><li>and develop their role to allow more participation in </li></ul><ul><li>the rehabilitation of offenders </li></ul>
    18. 18. Technology <ul><li>In 9 countries, 90% of prison HE students found computers and internet access inadequate or very inadequate ( Callejo & Viedma, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Fears around using technology in prison should be clearly identified and addressed (Mitra, 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>We need flexible learning programmes which use modern technologies and web access but allow for variability in the short term </li></ul><ul><li>Campus models of education in prison, either physical or virtual, may encourage communities of practice by all learners in prison, including staff </li></ul><ul><li>Linked e-learning networks could encourage the trial of </li></ul><ul><li>virtual spaces and develop distance education in other </li></ul><ul><li>languages </li></ul>
    19. 19. Anne Pike COLMSCT CETL Fellow & Offender Learning Coordinator The Open University [email_address]
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